Annual CBS Offensive Infrastructure Ranking Places Steelers At No. 27 In NFL

The Pittsburgh Steelers had a busy offseason, turning the roster over and improving the offensive line through the draft and free agency with the additions of Broderick Jones, Isaac Seumalo and Nate Herbig. The team also improved their skill position unit with the additions of Allen Robinson II and Darnell Washington. Despite adding on offense and not subtracting much, CBS Sports has the team’s offensive infrastructure ranked 27th in its annual rankings.

It’s important to note how these rankings work. It’s not just a ranking of the best offenses in the league, rather every position and each primary play caller is graded on a scale of 1-5. For the Steelers, offensive coordinator Matt Canada being the team’s primary play-caller dragged their rating down.

“The Steelers are inching closer to having a pretty decent offense, and could make this ranking look silly if Kenny Pickett takes a significant step forward. More likely, though, they will be held back by offensive coordinator Matt Canada,” Jared Dubin wrote.

Pittsburgh actually had pretty solid rankings across the board outside of Canada, who got a 1.5 in the play caller category. After Canada, the next lowest score was Pickett, who received a 2.5. The team’s running back group received a 3, while pass catchers and the offensive line received a 3.5.

On the surface, being ranked 27th and in a tier with teams like the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans might seem ridiculous. And in a way it is. But given the way the rating scale works, it’s understandable that the team is getting punished by Canada’s low grade. Jared Dubin, who works on the annual piece for CBS, makes it clear that the rankings aren’t really about how a team is expected to perform, but rather how well-positioned for success they are.

There’s no doubt that Canada has struggled at times during his stint as Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator. But the entire offensive philosophy shifted in the second half of last season to become more of a ground-and-pound team that chews up time on the clock and wears the opposing defense down. That worked, with the Steelers finishing 6-2 down the stretch. The moves Pittsburgh’s made this offseason make it clear that playing that way will be a priority again, with hopefully a step up from Pickett in his second season in the league to make the passing attack more of a threat.

I think Pittsburgh will outplay this ranking, although I understand why they ended up so low. For what it’s worth, the team ranked 27th in this exercise last year with Canada receiving a 3 for his playcalling, and both the running backs and pass catchers receiving a 4 last year. Overall, Pittsburgh’s total score heading into last year was higher than it was this year, and I think this year’s offense is a lot better than the unit last season. We won’t really know until the season gets underway, but I think this Steelers offense could definitely surprise some people.

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